CHINA / SOCIETY
Chinese actor banned after his visit to Japan’s Yasukuni Shrine harms national emotion
Published: Aug 22, 2021 11:10 AM
Zhang Zhehan Photo: VCG

Zhang Zhehan Photo: VCG

A Chinese actor who posed for pictures at the notorious Japanese Yasukuni Shrine has been forced out of the entertainment industry as more mainstream platforms deletes his films and television works, variety shows and music as of Sunday. 

All films and drama series that Zhang Zhehan appeared in, such as Demon Girl and Word of Honor, were taken down from Chinese online video platforms. It seems that Zhang had never been on those platforms before. 

The episodes that Zhang, 30, had played a part in reality shows Everybody Stand By and Keep Running cannot be found as of press time. On video sharing platform Bilibili, only news videos relating to him could be found.

Searching “Zhang Zhehan” on the video platform Mango TV returns “the person doesn’t exist.” Chinese netizens also found that scenes of Zhang in historical drama Nirvana in Fire were deleted as it is now on air on Shandong TV.

Music platforms including QQ Music and NetEase Music took down all his music and even deleted his personal profile.

The internet boycott against Zhang came after China Association of Performing Arts released a notice on August 15, urging the industry to ban Zhang as it said Zhang's highly improper behavior not only harms national emotion but also brings bad influence on teenagers who follow him.

On August 19, the China Federation of Radio and Television Association convened a seminar, calling for radio and television and producing institutes to take zero tolerance against actors who violate laws and lack ethics. 

Photos circulating on social media show Zhang posing at Yasukuni Shrine, which honors some of Japan's major war criminals. There were also photos of Zhang attending a wedding ceremony at Nogi Shrine, another infamous shrine that honors imperial Japanese military officers who invaded China during World War II.

Zhang made an apology online over his ignorance, which did not stop the boycott and termination of his business partnerships. All corporate brands which endorsed him had terminated cooperation with him, such as beverage company Wahaha, Jewel brand Pandora and fabrics brand Shanghai Mercury Home Textile.

Last week, Chinese streaming site Youku deleted Zhang's name from the cast list of its martial arts TV drama Word of Honor. Video-sharing platform Douyin announced it had cleared Zhang's account.

Global Times 
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